Who Knew?

By:His Beautiful Girl

For: LV AU Week 2020, Day Three: Decent Dick

Many Thanks to my beta Saoirse Konstantin, for her constant support and cheerleading!

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Entire vision filled with the color of blood and pulsing, Logan roared out, "Choose Veronica! Choose now, friends or father!"

The petite blond trembled, feet frozen to the spot, heart pounding as she struggled for breath. Invisible hands squeezing her throat tightly while finding herself caught in the fire of Logan's glare. 'How can he expect her to go against her father? Did she presume her dad to be right about accusing Jake Kane of killing Lilly? No, but something wasn't right about the story they gave that night at the Kane household. How could Logan do this in front of the entire school? Weren't they friends?' Veronica understood he the hurt and anger because of Lilly's murder, she felt hurt and angry too. But to ask this of her? Her blue eyes darted all around wildly, searching for an escape.

"Well, Veronica? The sheriff-" Logan spat the words out as if he was spitting out a piece of food that had gone bad, "or your friends?"

A mop of sun-bleached blond hair connected to a body, slightly burly and strong from surfing, pushed through the crowd circling the two teens. "Dude!" Dick Casablancas took in the situation for only a moment before grabbing Logan's arm with a surprising strength, dragging the tall, lean, fuming brunette away from the tiny quivering girl and cheering crowd, pulling him into the boy's bathroom. The hall filled with loud booing from the students, upset to see the end of the altercation.

"What the fuck, Dick? Couldn't you see I was in the middle of something, something important? What the hell did you do that for?" Logan's face turned a darker, nearly bordering purple. Fists clenched and unclenched before the right one suddenly shot out and connected with a paper towel dispenser, leaving a large deep dent in the metal.

"Logan!" Dick's booming voice echoed off the tiled walls. "Just stop a minute. I get you're pissed off, but you need to stop and think. Is going after Ronnie what you really want to do? Sheriff Mars is a dick for going after Jake Kane, I get it, but he's Ronnie's dad. What is she supposed to do? You hate your old man, but the Sheriff is all she's got right now! And as far as dad's go, the Sheriff is decent compared to most dads around here. I pulled your dumb ass away before you destroyed everything with her, because if you go down this road, dude- there's no coming back!"

Logan lunged for the door; breathing hard and fast. Dick grabbed him by his orange and white plaid button-up shirt and threw him across the room with all of his strength. "Just stop before you make the biggest mistake of your life, Asshole!" Dick stepped toward his friend and pushed his hands against Logan's chest to hold him in place against the wall, voice softening. "Please Logan, stop. I just- going after Veronica is wrong. It will be something you'll never come back from. Something you will regret. I'm trying to stop you from making this mistake. How can you expect her to turn on her dad? That's family and you don't turn your back on family. My dad is the biggest prick, but I still wouldn't turn my back on him if it came down to it."

Brown eyes rolled and a barking, harsh laugh slipped through his lips, "I would turn my back on Aaron in a second. Family doesn't always deserve loyalty, Dick."

"Would you turn your back on your mom?" Dick asked quietly, knowing that at least he held the other boy's attention.

"What? I- no, of course not, why would you even ask that?" Logan's brown eyes narrowed, flashing while a deep 'v,' forming between them, and his jaw clenched. "Never, I would never turn my back on my mom!"

"The way you love your mom? That's Ronnie's dad to her, you need to recognize that. Mrs. Mars took off, and he's all Veronica's got now. They've always been close, she's always been a daddy's girl. Is this a fucked-up situation? Yes, but- you can't expect her to just turn her back on the Sheriff, dude. Imagine what this is doing to her? And think about this… Do you really want Veronica out of your life forever? Maybe nobody else sees what you mean to each other, but I do. Do you really want to lose that? Because you will if you do this."

For the first time, the Logan stilled, sinking down to the floor, back sliding against the tiled wall. A loud, frustrated growl escaped while wrapping long arms around his legs and he bounced his forehead off his knees a few times and groaning. "Why did Lilly have to leave? This is so messed up and I don't- I'm lost. Dude, can you just give some time… alone?"

Dick studied the other boy, crossing his arms. "Can I trust you not to go after Veronica? Give me your word, Logan. You'll at least give it a day and think over what I said? But know that if you do go after her, I can't stand with you on this one."

The tall boy nodded, looking up to meet Dick's gaze with chocolate eyes filled with pain, "You have my word, I won't go after her until I've thought things over."

They studied one another for a moment and finally Dick nodded in response, "I'm here, Logan. I mean that. I meant what I said, that I won't stand behind you if you go after her, but that doesn't mean I'm not here for you. To talk or if you just need to go out and surf, whatever." Another bro nod and Dick slipped out of the boy's restroom, leaving Logan alone to his thoughts…

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Dick

Dick Casablancas is smarter than people give him credit for and also much more observant. The thing about him was that he really didn't care that much about things and so was happy to let his image be the easy going surfer and, in reality, that image wasn't exactly wrong. The shaggy blond was a sideline player, except for the drama Madison dragged him into the middle of. Therefore, when Dick interfered between Logan and Veronica, it surprised even himself. But, he knew someone had to stop this, to stop Logan from making a mistake that would haunt him as deeply as the ghost of Lilly Kane did, perhaps even more. Dick liked Veronica, the petite blond was sweet, and he empathized with her for the position this mess put her in. How was she supposed to choose between her family and a bunch of people, most of which were jealous and/or disliked her because she had held the position of Lilly's best friend? And maybe other people didn't see it, but he saw the connection between Logan and Veronica, recognized it was something special, something never to lose.

He studied Logan sitting on the floor with eyes narrowed and mouth set in a firm line, arms crossed. "Can I trust you not to go after Veronica? Give me the word, you'll at least give it a day and think over what I said?" Dick knew he must draw a line in the sand this time, to make a stand instead of standing back. "But know that if you do go after her, I can't stand with you on this one."

Logan sagged against the wall of the bathroom and nodded while assuring Dick he would honor their agreement. For a moment, Dick got a glimpse of what the king of the 09'ers hid behind the mask. The pain in Logan's chocolate eyes twisted his stomach in knots, caused his chest to tighten, and eyes to blink rapidly against the stinging. Torn, not wanting to leave his friend here in the bathroom, but instinctively knowing that Logan needed time alone now. Still, the teenager offered one last thing. With a shift in position, he kne before his friend and placed a hand on Logan's knee, injecting sincerity in his voice, "I'm here, Logan. I mean that. I meant what I said, that I won't stand behind you if you go after her, but that doesn't mean I'm not here for you. To talk or if you just need to go out and surf, whatever." A nod of understanding passed between the two and then Dick stood up and left the other boy to his thoughts.

Madison latched on as soon as Dick emerged, nasally voice whining, "What the hell, Dick? Why did you stop Logan? He was just about to put that skank Veronica Mars in her place finally! She isn't one of us and I don't understand why Lilly ever let her pretend to be. I tried to tell her for years she didn't belong..." The voice reminded him of nails on a chalkboard.

"Stop! Just stop, Madison. Enough. Veronica has been one of us for years, even if the money is lacking. Lilly. Logan and Duncan made Ronnie one of us and that should be enough. God, how do you get off on this? How do you find so much happiness in hurting others? Is this what I've been like? Is this how I treat people? Well, I'm done. As of today, I'm done. I won't do it anymore. There's enough fucked up things in this life without us causing more. We deal with enough pain, we don't need to cause more."

"Dick Casablancas! What is wrong with you? Did you hit your head surfing? Are you on something?" The dyed blond stamped her foot, huffing at the fact that her boyfriend dared call her behavior out in front of people, let alone at all. And to defend Veronica Mars, of all things! "You aren't thinking straight, go home and sleep off whatever this is. Then you can decide how expensive the make-up gift will be. Something from Tiffany's would be appropriate." Madison lifted her chin and crossed her arms and glared.

The surfer stared at his girlfriend for a long moment, as if seeing her for the first time. When answering, he did so in a calm and even voice, quiet and yet steady, "No Madison, no gift. We're done for good. If all of this shit that has happened has made anything clear it's this- there is no tomorrow promised. I, for one, don't want to be someone other people remember as being an asshole. The first part of changing is changing who I surround myself with, so we're done. I don't think you're a horrible person, but you're too focused on things that aren't important, things I don't care about. I hope you find what you're looking for, Madison." With that, Dick turned and walked down the hall, beginning the search, paying no attention to the screeching that followed his movements.

Dick wanted to find Veronica and see how she was doing; fairly certain she needed a friendly face right now. The first person he found, however, was Cassidy at his locker. Realization hit him while thoughts of how he had treated his brother his entire life flooded his mind. He knew that this was another wrong that needed to be righted. Approaching his brother, he laid a hand gently on his shoulder, so as not to startle him, "Hey Beaver, look I really want to talk, apologize for being such an asshole. I want to start over and be better brothers if you're game. I've been horrible to you and I'm sorry. There is a lot more that I need to say but I really need to find Veronica and make sure she's okay, have you seen her?"

Cassidy's eyes grew enormous, mouth dropping while listening. "Uh- um- yeah, I would… would like that." The younger boy stuttered out, gripping his book bag. "Uh- just call me Cassidy though? I- I really hate the name Beaver. And I saw Veronica run out the front doors after you pushed Logan in the bathroom. She was really upset. I'm not sure if she left or not."

"Thanks Cassidy, I'll talk to you later. I know we need to talk much more and I'm sorry to cut it short, but I need to find her." With a beaming grin and nod, he jogged off toward the entrance of the school, figuring the first thing to do is to check if Veronica's car was still in the lot.

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Veronica

When Dick pulled Logan into the bathroom, Veronica took the chance to flee. Madison, never one to give up a moment of opportunity, taunted while also giving a hard shove, making the petite girl fall to the dirty floor. "Oh, how you've fallen, poor little Veronica Mars. It's finally time for someone to put you into your place. I've had to watch you parade around here like you're one of us for much too long. You and daddy will become even lower than the 02'ers. Take some advice and transfer schools, go to Pan, nobody wants you here anyway."

Frantic movements to collect spilled books and folders, her eyes stinging, Veronica shoved everything haphazardly into her bag. Picking herself up from the ground and running out of the doors of Neptune High. With a hard lob, she tossed everything into the back seat, not carrying where things fell while the harsh, racking sobs took over her body. Her mind screamed, 'Get out of here! Leave! What are you doing! Go, go, go!' She fell into the front seat of the black Le Baron with choking, ugly sounds ripping from the delicate throat. Hot, thick tears streamed down pale cheeks, down her neck, soaking into a pink t-shirt. Veronica brought knees up to her chest despite the steering wheel and wrapping her arms around them, shoulders turned in. Veronica somehow made herself even more diminutive while curled up in the driver's seat of the car.

"Lilly! Lilly, why did you have to leave? Everything has fallen apart, and I don't know what to do. Dad can't be right, Jake loved you and wouldn't hurt you, but dad is all I have now Lils. Mom's gone, left a note and just left. My friends all hate me and Log-" the sob choked out violently, "Logan hates me Lilly. I can't do this. He's so angry and in so much pain. Duncan is a zombie. Come back, please just come back, if you come back everything will be okay again. Please come back." The small body rocked back and forth as she continued to beg her best friend to come back to her.

When a hand touched her shoulder, Veronica screamed like one of those girls being chased by a hulking man with a chainsaw in a horror movie. "Hey, Ronnie, it's just me. It's Dick, I'm sorry, didn't mean to scare you. I've been looking everywhere for you."

Veronica's body wouldn't quit quaking. Tears continued to flow and when she tried to talk, a voice unrecognizable, hoarse and rusty as it came out. "Wh- What do you want, Dick? Please, I can't take it anymore, so please…"

"No trick, Ronnie, I swear." Dick made sure his touch was gentle when his hands readjusted the petite girl, hugging her. Veronica fell into the hug, shaking and grateful. 'Is this a trick? I mean, Dick's not known for being nice. But he pulled Logan away earlier. Please don't let it be a trick, I just need this hug so badly.' Eyes closed, Veronica allowed for the blond surfer to hold her, relaxing a bit as his hands rubbed up and down her back.

"He didn't mean it. It sounds like he meant it, but he's mixed up right now." Veronica lifted her head and stared at Dick, confused before realizing that he was talking about Logan. "Really, Ronnie, he didn't mean it. Everything is just so… so… so shitty right now and Logan is dealing with it the only way he knows how. He doesn't understand family like we do. How you stick by them no matter what, even if they're wrong, I get it. Don't give up on him, please. He needs you. He might say Duncan is his best friend but everyone knows that's crap, it's you, even Lilly knew that."

Veronica nodded. This wasn't information new to her. Teeth sank into a delicate bottom lip, head tilting while observing the blond surfer that crouched down by the front seat of the car. "Thank you, Dick. You're a wonderful friend to Logan."

"Hopefully you'll let me be your friend too, Ronnikins." A big goofy smile spread on Dick's face. "We'll finally get you in the ocean and surfing!"

Giggles erupted from Veronica's throat, eyes widened in surprise and her hand came up to cover her mouth, "Perhaps." A glance up through the windshield caused her spine to stiffen, while a gasp escaped. Stomach re-knotted itself. Her body began shaking again. Logan was standing ten yards away, staring.

Dick turned his head to see what caused the reaction and sighed, standing up. "Just stay here okay, I'll take care of it. You're in no danger, I won't let him hurt you or yell at you again."

Veronica wrapped her arms around her legs again, watching Dick go over to Logan. Eyes wide, breathing coming in brief spurts while watching the boys talking, seeing hand gestures on Logan's part but unable to hear any of the words. Truth be told, she wasn't sure about wanting to hear. It seemed like the king of the 09'ers had calmed down considerably though, which made her curious peak. She was wondering what transpired with Logan while Dick was comforting her. Butterflies flew around in her stomach. Her chest hurt, as if being crushed while watching Logan move her way now, Dick staying on the lawn where they had been talking.

Eyes tracked every move the tall, brunette boy made until he reached the open car door, crouching as Dick had done. "Hey Ronica, can we talk, please?" Teeth bit her bottom lip again, and she nodded, her heart telling her to give her friend one more chance.

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Logan

All Logan could think about was getting back out there, demanding answers from the little blond. Blood boiled in his veins and he was seconds away from throwing Dick into the nearest wall to get back to his target when the surfer's words stopped him cold, "Would you turn your back on your mom?"

It was as if someone dumped a bucket of ice water over him and the ice was making its way into his veins. 'What sort of question was that? He would never turn on his mom. Never in a million years; he loved her too much.' There was a part of his mind that was aware he should be mad at Lynn for sitting by while Aaron left marks on his skin that would forever be there, while she drank herself into a haze along with the help from pills. But Lynn loved him. And was the only one who did- well, her and Veronica. Dick's other words echoed in his mind. 'Do you really want Veronica out of your life forever? Maybe nobody else sees what you mean to each other, but I do. Do you really want to lose that? Because you will if you do this.'

Veronica. The girl who had instantly been his friend. Veronica. The one who liked him for who he was and not because he had two movie stars as parents. Veronica. Who he tried so hard to protect from the harshness of the world because she shouldn't have to see the ugliness. Veronica. The friend that was always there, even when it was her best friend that hurt him. Never making excuses for Lilly, just showing up with movies for a marathon, all comedies to cheer him up. Veronica. The girl who would hug him hard, like she was trying to convey these huge emotions her petite body wasn't able to contain.

Fuck! Stuck sitting down and looking at his actions, the words yelled at her flooding his mind. Rage at Mr. Mars, at the way the man had treated the Kanes had filled him, so overwhelming that he made Veronica his target. The weight of his actions and words suddenly settled on his shoulders, feeling like a thousand pounds.

"Good Job, dumb ass! Real nice. How dare you treat my Veronica Mars this way! You're supposed to protect her now that I'm gone, but I find you here leading the attack?"

Logan's head jerked up, hands scrubbed his face and eyes. "Lilly?" Round, wide brown eyes stared at the girl sitting on the counter. The blond was transparent, perfectly dressed in her pep squad uniform, hair in a perfect ponytail, looking like she did when alive. "I've lost my damn mind." Cynical laughter spilled out of his mouth. "I've finally lost it."

"Oh, get over yourself, Logan Echolls!" Lilly sniped, eyes flashing and narrowed, lips twisted in a grimace. "You aren't the important one here. Veronica is. I came to help you fix this mess before you screw it up even further."

Logan stood, taking the couple steps over to the tall blond, reaching out his hand, finding that it passed right through her. Lilly rolled her eyes impatiently. "Are you done now? Yes, I'm dead. Yes, I'm a ghost. Boo! Can we get on to the important things?"

"Why did you leave, Lils?" A broken whisper passed through Logan's lips while staring at his dead ex-girlfriend. "Romantically it was over, but I didn't want you to die. I figured one day we would even be friends."

Green eyes softened, gazed into his brown puppy-dog ones, "Oh, Logan. I thought so too. I- I'm not allowed to say much, but I did something stupid that I regret for more reasons than it just leading to my death. I didn't want to leave all of you, especially the way I did."

A lump prevented Logan from swallowing easily. Eyes stung with tears, "I miss you. We fell apart without you."

"I miss you too, but Lo, you need Veronica, more than you know. And she needs you. Make this right. Things will get ugly and it's your job to protect, not turn on her." Lilly lips curled up, "I can't believe Dick Casablancas of all people was the one who knew to pull you away. He'll be an excellent friend to you too."

Logan nodded slowly. "How do I fix what I did to Veronica? Shit, I was a psychotic jackass, Lils! What if she won't forgive me? I wouldn't."

Lilly beamed, green eyes sparkling so brightly it was hard to remember that she wasn't alive, "Ronica will forgive you silly, my best friend is amazing like that. This rough time will change her but the strapless red satin Veronica is about to burst through!" Another giggle escaped. "Or black leather Veronica might be more appropriate, but she'll still be our V'ronica in all the important ways as long as you're there to stand by her side. Together, the changes will be good, if you turn your back however-" The blond trailed off looking down at the floor, the life suddenly draining from her face.

A raised eyebrow followed by a slow smirk graced Logan's youthful face. "Well, that should be interesting. Veronica in red satin or black leather."

Lilly looked back up at Logan with a smile. "Go find her, apologize and mean it. Be willing to stand with her through this." Lilly bit a plump bottom lip, "Be willing to listen and hear her out even when you may not want to. She's smart, our Ronica, and knows what she's talking about."

Head nodding, Logan gazed at the once love of his life and peace ran through him, like they had finally completed something important. "I promise."

Red lips curved into a mischievous grin, "Oh, and Logan, do me one favor?"

An eyebrow raised, he met her eyes and waited.

"Don't be afraid to move on, but wait for the right girl. And you will recognize when it's the right girl, she's closer than you know." Lilly disappeared, her perfume still hanging in the air.

Logan knew he would think about this encounter later, but the immediate mission was damage control and for that he needed to find Veronica. The bell rang indicating the end of the current period and the sound of students filled the halls, talking and making their way to their next class. Logan slipped out the door and joined the flow. Casey was the first person he ran into, finding him at his locker. "Case! Hey, have you seen Veronica, I really need to find her."

"Going to go after her some more?" the boy asked curiously, switching out his books before slamming the locker shut.

With a shake of his head, Logan looked down to the floor, "Nah, man, I shouldn't have done that. Just want to talk to her."

"She ran out after Dick pulled you into the bathroom. Don't know if she's still around or not."

"Thanks, I'll talk to you later. Oh, hey, do me a favor, will ya? Spread the word that Veronica is off limits. No Rumors, no pranks, nothing. Anyone who doesn't listen deals with me."

Head tilting, Casey looked at the other boy and then nodded. "Okay, will do."

"Thanks, see you around." Logan sprinted toward the entrance and burst out into the sunlight, quickly scanning the parking lot for Veronica's mess of a car. Spotting the Le Baron and beginning the walk toward it, but pulling up short as he witnessed a shocking sight. Dick Casablancas hugging a crying Veronica Mars.

Logan was aware the moment Veronica spotted him, sensed it just like he always sensed her gaze. Found himself so distracted by the warmth that filled his belly he didn't realize Dick had walked over until the heavy hand fell on his shoulder. "Logan, dude? Uh- you promised a day before talking to Ronnie." The blond surfer's voice was hesitant yet strong, and Logan realized that the surfer was ready to throw down if he was there to go after her again.

A quick shake of his head, "I don't need a day, Dick. I'm here to apologize, here to figure out how to make it right if she'll let me. Had a moment of clarity, and some expert advice."

Blue eyes narrowed and looked Logan up and down. Whatever he was looking for, Logan must have passed muster because Dick stepped back. "All right then, dude."

Logan walked the scant distance to the car, swallowing hard when he realized Veronica was cowering and trembling. 'Holy hell, I did that. I broke her like this.' Almost doubling over when his stomach knotted, the physical pain of someone having punched him in the gut. Knowing that look, having seen it in the mirror… how had he messed this up so badly? 'Fix this!'

Softly, as if speaking to a frightened animal, "Hey Ronica, can we talk, please?"

Veronica made a tiny sound and uncurled slightly, nodding. "You- you're not here to yell at me some more?"

Shaking his head almost violently, Logan crouched down, hesitantly laying a hand on Veronica's thigh. "No, I promise. I'm so sorry, V'ronica, I'm sorry for yelling, for saying those things. You're my best friend, and I don't want to lose you. Things are so messed up and taking them out on you isn't the way to handle it. Can you forgive me for being a jackass?"

A sob broke through her lips before Veronica flung herself at Logan so hard he would have tumbled back if not for good reflexes. Arms caught her up and wrapped around her tightly, closing his eyes and pressing his face into her hair as she cried into his shoulder.

Things would be okay if they stuck together. They would get through this. It would change them, yes, but they would change together. Logan smiled into her hair, breathing in deeply. 'Who knew Dick was such a decent guy?'

~~FIN~~